BOSTON — A.J. Pierzynski is willing to take the heat.
Pierzynski shouldered the blame following the Red Sox’s 3-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Saturday at Fenway Park. The Red Sox catcher dropped a throw home in the seventh inning, allowing the Indians to tie the game and eventually capture the lead after Junichi Tazawa walked in a run later in the inning.
“He was great. He deserved to win,” Pierzynski said of Red Sox starter Jake Peavy, who exited after the sixth inning with Boston leading 2-1. “He battled for six innings, one run, left with the lead. We had a chance to shut them down and we didn’t do it, and it’s all my fault.”
Craig Breslow relieved Peavy in the seventh inning and immediately struggled, surrendering back-to-back singles to Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael Brantley to set up runners at the corners with no outs. The game-changer, however, came when Jason Kipnis grounded to second base and Dustin Pedroia fired home in an attempt to cut down Cabrera.
Pedroia’s throw beat Cabrera, but Pierzynski failed to catch the baseball. Home plate umpire Sean Barber even called Cabrera out before realizing that Pierzynski never caught the ball.
“Pedroia made a great play,” Pierzynski said. “I tried to make a tag and missed the ball.”
Breslow rebounded to retire Lonnie Chisenhall and Nick Swisher before walking David Murphy to load the bases. Red Sox manager John Farrell then opted to call upon Tazawa to face the switch-hitting Carlos Santana.
Tazawa, who typically has pinpoint control, walked Santana on five pitches, three of which were borderline calls. That plated Cleveland’s third run and proved to be the difference in Saturday’s game.
“I thought some of them were good pitches, but I guess I didn’t frame them good enough,” Pierzynski said of Santana’s walk.
Pierzynski also went 0-for-4 at the plate, adding to the Boston backstop’s frustrating game. He grounded into a double play in the second inning and struck out twice. Pierzynski went down swinging on three pitches against Indians closer Cody Allen in the bottom of the ninth.
The Red Sox certainly have other things to point to as reasons for Saturday’s loss, including their 0-for-7 effort with runners in scoring position, their three double plays and Breslow’s struggles before the play at home.
But Pierzynski clearly wants to hear none of those.